Synthetic fibrers are becoming more and more popular. We have vegan leather made from pineapple leaves, grape skin, mushroom caps, and more. But who knew that the latest vegan leather would be based on… coconut water!
The leather was created through a collaboration between researcher Zuzana Gombošová and product designer Susmith C. Suseelan.
The product, which is cruelty-free, sustainable, and eco-friendly, is called Malai and is made from bacterial cellulose grown from coconut water.
“Nobody thinks of the harm done to the environment and the number of animals that are slaughtered in the process [of making leather],” said Susmith.
“Coconut water, which is of no use in the industry, is what serves as the raw materials for making a bacterial cellulose,” Zuzana added. “It was after trying around 150 different formulations that we finally got close to what we wanted to create – a new sustainable and eco-friendly product that can be used commercially.”
When asked if the process of making such a leather is hard and time-consuming, Susmith replied that “it is not as tough as killing an animal to make leather! Once the coconut water is collected and sterilized, the bacterial culture is made to feed on it.
“The fermentation period takes 12 to 14 days after which Malai can be harvested, which then undergoes a process of refinement. It is enriched with natural fibers, gums and resins to create a more durable and flexible material so that it can be moulded into sheets of different thicknesses and textures. Natural dyes can be added to give colour. The final stages include leaving it to air-dry, and then softening by applying gentle water-resistant treatment without adding any plastic coatings or synthetic ingredients.”
Malai is PETA-approved vegan.
#malai #sustainable #biomaterials